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Written Presentation:
Euthanasia
By Danai El-Hajj Ibrahim

Brevet 9-1

Dec./Jan. 2001-2002

Unedited

Outline:

A)I chose this topic for two reasons: first, because I am curious about euthanasia, and second because I wanted to read about the different views of people towards mercy killing.
B)Euthanasia is a current concept, which is highly controversial. Many organizations and countries still view it as a crime. The three monotheistic religions are head strong against it. Very few organizations and countries (mainly Holland or the Netherlands) support euthanasia. The topic of euthanasia is highly controversial issue that requires a lot of understanding between people of conflicting views due to its terrifying nature.

C)Four Facts:

(1)There are four types of euthanasia.

a-Active euthanasia

b-Passive euthanasia

c-Voluntary euthanasia

d-Involuntary euthanasia

(2)Doctor Kevorkian is famous for practicing euthanasia

a-Thanatron: Death Machine

b-At least, one hundred and thirty patients helped to die

c-Accused and found guilty

(3)Organizations that support euthanasia.

a-Holland legalized euthanasia

b-Hemlock group of doctors supported

c-Other organizations

(4)Religions against euthanasia

a-Islam believes it is a crime

b-Christianity found euthanasia as an act against God’s authority.

c-Judaism opposes it

(D) Analysis:

(1)Euthanasia is definitely mercy killing

a-It is practiced on terminally ill.

b- It relieves the suffering of people in pain

(2)Religions need to review decisions

a-Is life worth living when in pain?

b-Is suffering not an insult to our existence?

c- Aren’t machines against God’s authority?

(3)A person has the right to die in dignity.

a-Many lose joy in living, and life turns into hell for them and there loved ones.

b-Dying in peace is better than living in pain.

(4)Doctor Kevorkian is not a murderer.

a-We should view Doctor Kevorkian as a helper.

b- He has good intentions. He does what his patients beg of him to do.

(5)The Lebanese are divided on the topic of euthanasia.

a-Some can see the advantages of euthanasia.

b-Some feel that such a decision is or can be wrong.

(E) Conclusion:

(1)Euthanasia is not a simple issue at all, and people of opposing opinions about the topic should agree to discuss their contradicting points of view.

(2)Euthanasia should be practiced when it is needed.

(3)People should be given a choice.

(4)Organizations and religions should rethink their decisions.

(5)Euthanasia can serve humanity.

(6)People should live a life with dignity.

Purpose:

I chose this topic for two reasons; first because I was curious about euthanasia, and I wanted to read more about the different points of view people have on it. I would not pick a subject if I were not interested in it.

Introduction:

Euthanasia is a current concept that is highly controversial. Many organizations and countries still view euthanasia as a crime. The three Monotheistic religions are against euthanasia. Very few organizations, and countries (mainly Holland or the Netherlands) highly support euthanasia. The topic of euthanasia is highly controversial issue that requires a lot of understanding between people of conflicting views due to its terrifying nature.

Four types of euthanasia:

There are four types of euthanasia. They are active, passive, voluntary, and involuntary. Active euthanasia is when a doctor ends a patient’s life by administering a legal injection or any other way. On the other hand, passive euthanasia is not doing anything to stop the death of a person. It is when a doctor withholds any means in order to prolong the life of a patient. Moreover, voluntary euthanasia a patient’s desire to end his life and it is clearly his decision to die, while involuntary euthanasia does not involve the patient because he is no longer capable to make such a decision. The decision is made by his family or recommended by a doctor, and this type of euthanasia happens to patients who are mentally incapable of announcing such a choice as in the case of comatose patients.

Dr. Kevorkian:

Many doctors have been involved with the concept of euthanasia, but none are as notorious as Dr. Death or Dr. Kevorkian. He practiced euthanasia in the state of Michigan and California.. A 70-year-old doctor who is accused of helping at least 130 of his patients to die. Kevorkian was found guilty with the 2nd degree murder of Thomas Youk, a patient of his who was suffering from ASL. The euthanasia doctor has shocked viewers when he videotaped one of his patients in the process of performing euthanasia. The tape, which was released on air, clearly showed a patient injecting himself with a lethal solution. In addition to this public exhibition, Dr. Kevorkian has invented a death machine called Thanatron. The machine is simply made and can be assembled at any house. It is made from the remains of electric appliance and children’s toys. All a patient needs to do is simply push a button and he/she will die in his/her sleep from heart attack.

Organizations with Euthanasia:

Euthanasia is not a new concept, yet discussing it is. Euthanasia has been practiced with the early Romans and Greeks over 2,000 years ago. The people of Sparta, an ancient Greek city, value physical strength a lot, and they eliminated newborn babies who were born with birth defects. In our modern world, organization that supported the practice of euthanasia started in the 1930’s. A group of doctors in London started The Voluntary Euthanasia Society in 1935. Three years later American doctors founded the Hemlock society that helped people die. “The most recent and most controversial euthanasia doctor is Dr. Jack Kevorkian.” As far as countries are concerned, Holland is the only country in the world that has legalized the practice of euthanasia. Many states in the United States of America have agreed on a living will that is one step towards making euthanasia legal. In short, euthanasia should be viewed as mercy killing because that is what it is all about.

Religions V.S. Euthanasia:

All monotheistic religions are 100% against euthanasia. Judaism, Christianity and Islam view both euthanasia and suicide crimes as crimes just like any other murders. They all claim that life is a gift from God, and no human being should get rid of such a gift. For Jews, Christians and Moslems suicide and euthanasia are two unspeakable sins that can rob the person who commits them from a peaceful and religions burial and can definitely send straight to hell. Euthanasia is an unthinkable sin because it clearly shows man’s defiance towards his creator, and man is not allowed to play god. According to Islam, “God is the owner and giver of life and His right in giving and taking are not to be violated.” Similarly, the Christian faith believes that man is not supposed to end his life by any means simply because this is an act that challenges God and disobeys him. “So to go against this (i.e. deliberately ending someone’s life), is to go against God’s will (the way things should be), and thus to sin.” The Jews share the same opinion as the other to religions and condemn any person who chooses to die as a sinner. In conclusion, all the monotheistic religions agree on the idea of euthanasia as an act that defies God.
Analysis:
Euthanasia is a Greek word, which means “good death”. Later on people involved with euthanasia simply defined it as mercy killing. People, doctors, and organizations that are with euthanasia support it because their main intention is to help people with their pain; it is not their intention just to kill them. There is a difference between killing and helping put an end to someone’s pain. It is very different from first-degree murder. There are two main reasons behind euthanasia. People usually are forced to do it in order to relieve the suffering of their loved ones. Euthanasia is only practiced on patients who are terminally ill and who have no more hope of a decent life. Euthanasia is done in order to spare a human being a painful and improper life. It is not an easy decision to end a loved person’s life; it needs a lot of courage as well as love from a person to be able to pull the trigger, so to speak!

Religions need to review their decisions concerning the topic of euthanasia. All monotheistic religion that speak against euthanasia because they view it as a deadly sin; need to look at the good side of euthanasia. Euthanasia is the answer to many problems of the world. What is the use of life and pain? Is such a life worth living? Does not a person lose his religion when his/her life is full of problems? How many people were driven out of their faiths because of senseless suffering? There is one more issue involved her where religions people seem to overlook. What about life sustaining machines? Are they not against God’s authority? These are man made instruments that can prolong the life of human beings and that can actually be considered an act of challenging God’s will because if it were not for these human made machines, that person would have been dead.

Many people, especially those who have watched their loved ones suffer, usually are tortured when they are forced to see people they love live in constant pain. Most of these people would rather die to stop the pain rather than live if it is only in pain. If these people are given a choice, many will choose to die in dignity rather than become useless grown-ups who have no idea what is happening around them. I am sure no old person wants to walk around his house in diapers.

Dr. Kevorkian should not be viewed as a cold-blooded murderer. He simply is not. His intentions are honorable and good. He helps people in ending a life of misery, pain, and shame. Dr. Kevorkian does what his patients ask and probably beg him to do. He is definitely a man full of compassion. 

The results of the interview that I have conducted with A.C.S students and teachers as well as family members and friends, showed almost an equal division of people’s views concerning euthanasia. The majority of the high school students at A.C.S said that they supported euthanasia, especially if every other possible method was used, if the patient himself asked for euthanasia, and if his loved ones agreed to respect his wishes. I have discovered one common factor among those students who were absolutely against mercy killing. All of the students who rejected the concept of euthanasia were much deep in religion. They refused to make any further comments in order to defend their point of view. They were totally against it as if they heard the word crime. As for older people that I have interviewed, well many were against it, and they told me that it was too disturbing a subject to discuss, this ending my interview very quickly, just like the response of the religions students.

On the other hand, some people of the old generation said they wish that euthanasia could be made legal everywhere in the world including Lebanon because so many patients would find peace at last. These people supported their opinion with stories about dear family members and their long journey’s with suffering and pain. My mother’s friend who talked about her aunt who died ten years ago from bone cancer. It was an interesting yet sad story. My mother’s friend said she would never forget her aunt’s cries of pain whenever she took her mother to visit her sick sister. The aunt was reduced to, a shapeless lump, almost one tenth of her original size, and she would scream in pain even after the doctors gave her morphine shots, that are supposed to kill any pain. The aunt had gotten used to morphine and it never helped her. My mother’s friend recalls how her own mother would also suffer every time she saw her sister’s pain. She also said that she kept hearing her mother say: “ I wish she would die soon in order to be relieved of the pain she is going through.” One can only imagine how euthanasia would be able to put an end to a hopeless person’s suffering. On the other hand, one cannot ignore stories like the one told by Dr. Freedom.

A Lebanese doctor who chose to call himself Dr. Freedom tells a story that happened with him. This doctor’s story clearly shows his opinion about euthanasia. The doctor talks about a patient of how who was suffering from abdominal cancer, which was spreading throughout her body. Both the patient and her family asked him to put an end to her suffering. This doctor did not agree with them and did not grant the woman her death wish. He prescribed painkillers and never saw her again. Four years later, the doctor meets this patient walking on the street when he talked to her, she looked and told him that she was quite healthy and her pain is gone. The doctor finally concludes, “ Had I prescribed her euthanasia as she and her family wished I had been an assassin.”

Conclusion:

Euthanasia must not be abused, in order for it to be only practiced when no other method works. Euthanasia should be the last resort that people go to when nothing else helps. No matter what, people should be given the choice. Life should be worth living, and when it is not, then to put an end to it, euthanasia is the only logical and human thing to do. Religions and religious people should rethink their ”sacred” mission towards people and try harder to help them in their life both on earth and after death, rather than concentrate on the one after life.
 

REFERENCES
 

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Fields/2704/article20.html

http://www.faithnet.freeserve.co.uk/christianeuthanasia.htm
http://www.euthanasia.org/dutch.html
http://www.faithnet.freeserve.co.uk/christianeuthanasia2.htm
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kevorkian/aboutk/thanatronblurb.html
http://england.anglican.org/view/index.html
http://www.euthanasia.org/dutch.html
http://generalaoun.simplenet.com/doctor1.html
http://www.fanoffieger.com/kev.htm
 
Book Reference: Terminating Life, Gary E. McCuen and Therese Boucher, Wisconsin-1988 –p.84

 


Death and Dying -- Media -- Encarta ® Online
Lady with a terminal disease that will cause her to think about euthanasia at this age and these terms.


Dr. Kevorkian and his greatest invention the death machine also know as the Thanatron.
 


Dr. Kevorkian tied up and being questioned by reporters.

Euthanasia -- Media -- Encarta ® Online
==>  A patient ending his life through the process of euthanasia